Be careful what you wish for

Or, the other headline I was going to use for this month’s column is the current Rightmove TV advert catchphrase; ‘no perfect time, just the right time’. Because something I asked for has come to fruition, the timing isn’t perfect, but it could be the right time.

I floated the idea of writing a blog for a client back in August and re-pitched a feature to a fashion magazine; both have come back to me to follow up. I’d forgotten about the offer to write a regular blog, and I hadn’t heard from the fashion magazine editor for a couple of weeks, and I’ll admit I was relieved. Both responses, positive, came back in the same week, and I had a bit of an “oh sh*t” moment.

I’d asked a fellow writer for some advice on blog writing, so I sort of knew what I was doing. Responding to the client, detailing the service in black and white though felt a little fake, almost dangerous. Who was I to outline a service I hadn’t delivered? How long do I give myself to complete a blog? Am I charging enough or short-changing myself? The feelings I felt when I first posted on The Dots, way back in May came flooding back, fear, excitement and nervousness. The ‘what have I just done?’ moment.

And it’s merely the imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head again, but I have to start somewhere, don’t I? For many creative people, the beginning of a new career or side hustle feels organic, a bit messy like learning to walk as a child. Occasionally you make it across the floor, sometimes you fall after a step, but you get back up again and take tentative steps, like an octopus gingerly feeling with a tentacle. All the while quieting the voices in your head that say you can’t deliver, or they’ll find you out.

Ok, I’ll admit, I’ve Octopi on my brain as I watched ‘My Octopus Teacher’ on Netflix recently. If you have the time, do watch it; it’s the most beautiful story of a human’s connection with an octopus and the natural world. The octopus learns to trust a human, and I must trust in my abilities and skills. I invited the unknown in, and it’s up to me deal with it and commit.

After saying I was taking a step back in my last column, it may seem like I’m not now. I’d come to terms with the decision I made as it’s the right thing to do at the moment; however, the blog or this feature could be the start of more long time work, and when I have more free time or eventually go part-time, I want to have them in my back pocket.

And the part-time option might come true. Now, for anyone who’s holding down a ‘bill paying’ job but really wants to work on their passion, having a yearly development conversation with a manager can be a difficult conversation, especially when you have an ulterior motive. I had just this type of chat, and with significant changes coming down the line for our team, I took the brave step and asked to go part-time. As the words left my mouth, I closed my eyes, almost waiting for a bomb to hit, unsure of what the response was going to be, because I’m a bit of a pessimist, when I should be more of a glass half full person because I’d nothing to worry about! My manager asked me if she could share my request with the management team to include in their thinking regards the structural changes, and I said yes. I’m hopeful!

Truthfully, I don’t think I can face applying for an external role either. I’m in a permanent position after being a contractor for many years and am comfortable, just a little bored. Boredom generally signalled a new contract for me. The thought of ‘pimping’ myself out now as I used to doesn’t appeal, especially within the current job market.

That’s not to say I haven’t been looking; I’ve signed up to some job boards and scroll through them daily. Nothing had jumped out at me until recently; then I applied to a part-time role at a publishing house, although I didn’t get through to the interview stage. If I can get what I want where I am, it’ll be so much easier. I just need to sit tight. Who knows what’s around the corner, fingers crossed, a much better year, because let’s face it 2020 has been such a crappy year for obvious reasons.

If the part-time thing does come off in 2021, it’s going to stick a rocket up my backside, that’s for sure!

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